THOUSANDS of people are being forced to inherit timeshare holiday homes because loved ones have been caught up in contracts that last for “generations”.
Legal experts have warned anyone who passes on their stake in a property is also leaving behind the financial obligations.
But family members bound by inherited paperwork have no option but to pay for the holiday home for “an eternity” – even if they don’t want to use it.
Campaigners have now called for an “intervention” and said the law should be changed to stop distressed loved ones being “burdened” with debt.
Emma Myers, a will specialist at Cogent Law, said part of the reason people are trapped is because individuals cannot sell their stake unless the new buyer has been cleared by the owner of the property.
She said: “Thousands are burdened with timeshare properties they receive as beneficiaries of relatives’ estates.
“Problems arise because an ‘in perpetuity’ contract locks them into annual upkeep costs.
“Sadly the beneficiaries cannot cherry-pick what they inherit and cannot therefore shed the responsibility.”
It is thought that around 40% of the 600,000 Brits involved in timeshare properties want out but their contract has locked them in for life – a contract that is being passed on to loved ones after their death.
One person – who did not want to be named – inherited a Scottish property after it was bought in perpetuity by his aunt in the ate 1980s.
He said: “I’ve now been told I have to pay £500 every year for eternity – whether is use the property or not.
“This will also be passed onto my children when I die – it’s scandalous. I cannot afford these annual charges.”
Rhoda Grant – Scottish Labour’s enterprise spokeswoman – said: “The fact that many Scots are locked into contracts in perpetuity has long been an issue.
“But in this economic climate there needs to be some sort of intervention.
“I would urge the Scottish Government to seek legal advice on this area and identify any support which could be available to the thousands of Scots who are paying escalating annual charges that may be passed on indefinitely to future generations.”
Timeshare companies admit they are aware of the issue but said as it stands there is nothing that can be done.
Macdonald Resorts – a timeshare operator – said: “We are working closely with our club committees to try and find a solution.”